3 Reasons Why the Tea Party Might Not Be a Game-Changing Movement10.22.10
Much of the lead-up to the November 2nd election is not about if the Republicans will gain seats in Congress, but how many — and if they’ll actually win back both houses. Much of that is owed to the Tea Partiers, who have won a number of GOP primaries.
Now, I’m not denying that there is a vocal segment of Americans who are fed up with… well, everything right now. The economy, the unemployment, the spending, the taxes… the health care bill, the bailouts, TARP, Pelosi, Reid, Obama.
But is it nearly as big of a movement as our 24-hour news cycle would have us believe?
Here are a few reasons why I’m not so sure:
- The Tea Party haven’t (really) won anything yet. Sure, they’ve beaten out some incumbent Republicans in primaries. But that’s about it.
- The Tea Partiers are more of a threat to the Mike Castle who lost the Delaware primary to Christine O’Donnell, who has a slim shot at defeating Chris Coons (D), while Castle (speculation) may have had a much better shot. In that case, the Tea Party could end up being a liability to the GOP to re-take the Senate. than the Democrats. Tea Party candidates have knocked off some solid, traditional GOPers, most notably Rep.
- No Tea Partiers are running for office as Democrats. It’s pretty clear that the country sways back and forth between Democrats and Republicans in waves. Republicans dominated the 80s and the 00s while Bill Clinton handled the 90s. In 2008, Americans voted heavily in favor of the Democrats, giving them majorities in both houses and the presidency.Now, I get that many of the issues on which the Tea Partiers are campaigning aren’t traditional
But if the movement truly were all-encompassing the country, if it were truly capturing the sentiments of a strong majority of voters, it seems like it would’ve drifted into the Democratic Party even a little bit.It’s not like conservative-leaning Democrats don’t exist — I could see Sen. Ben Nelson running in accordance with some of the same ideas as other Tea Partiers. There have been a number of Democrats who have voted in line with the Republicans on the major bills of the past nearly-two-years — why didn’t any Tea Party candidates emerge to challenge those seats? Why are they only Republicans?
stances: lower taxes and cutting entitlements.
While much has been said about whether or not the Tea Party will defeat the Democrats in the general election in less than two weeks, it seems like not enough has been said about what this means for the Republican Party. The Tea Party has gained a ton of traction due to the anti-incumbent mentality going around (natural when the economy is in the dumps — easy to blame those who are in charge even if they may not be the ones who are to blame); but that’s mainly hurt Republicans so far, not Democrats.
What the Tea Party represents are just Republicans in new clothes. They’ve taken the anti-establishment, anti-elite tropes and run wild with them, riling up the base en route. But they’re not new, as in converted from being Democrats. And I think that’s why this is being misinterpreted. Unless the Tea Party is convincing the moderates with their ideas to vote Republican this year — which I’m sure they have to some extent — they’re not going to be a game-changer at the polls.
Then again, it’s all speculation right now. We’ll see in 11 days when the people vote. I just wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not as revelatory as some think it will be.
Image courtesy of Fibonacci Blue’s Flickr Photostream.